|Cultural origins||Late 1970s, United Kingdom|
Indie pop is a subgenre of alternative or indie rock that originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. The style is inspired by punk's DIY ethic and related ideologies, and it generated a thriving fanzine, label, and club and gig circuit. Indie pop differs from indie rock to the extent that it is more melodic, less abrasive, and relatively angst-free. Its substyles include chamber pop and twee pop. It does not just describe "pop" indie music, but also a subculture.
The term "indie" had been used for some time to describe artists on independent labels (and the labels themselves). "Indie" and "indie pop" originally referred to the same thing during the late 1970s. According to Pitchfork's Nitsuh Abebe:
Indie pop is not just "indie" that is "pop." Not too many people realize this, or really care either way. But you can be sure indie pop's fans know it. They have their own names for themselves ... the music they listen to ... their own canon of legendary bands ... and legendary labels ... their own pop stars ... their own zines ... websites ... mailing lists ... aesthetics ... festivals ... iconography ... fashion accessories ... and in-jokes ... in short, their own culture.
A key moment in the naming of "indie pop" as a genre was the release of NME's 1986 compilation C86, a followup to C81 (1981). Similarly designed to reflect the new music scene of the time in the UK, it is now seen as the birth of indie pop in the UK (the 2006 extended reissue CD86 is subtitled 48 Tracks from the Birth of Indie Pop). The UK music press was, in 1986, highly competitive, with four weekly papers documenting new bands and trends. The grouping of bands, often artificially, with an overarching label to heighten interest or sell copies, was commonplace. NME journalists of the period now agree that C86 was an example of this,[improper synthesis?] but also a by-product of NME's "hip hop wars", a schism in the paper (and among readers) between enthusiasts of contemporary progressive black music (for example, by Public Enemy and Mantronix), and fans of guitar-based music, as represented on C86.[verification needed] C86 featured key early bands of the genre such as Primal Scream and the Pastels, but also included tracks by several more abrasive, "shambling" bands from the Ron Johnson label, who were atypical of the perceived C86 jangle pop aesthetic.
A link between C86 and unifying genre is commonly disputed by critics and the bands who appeared on the original compilation.[improper synthesis?] Everett True, a writer for NME in the '80s under the name "The Legend!", has argued that "C86 didn't actually exist as a sound, or style. I find it weird, bordering on surreal, that people are starting to use it as a description again". Geoff Taylor, a member of the band Age of Chance, agreed: "We never considered ourselves part of any scene. I’m not sure that the public at large did either, to be honest. We were just an independent band around at that same time as the others." Bob Stanley, a Melody Maker journalist in the late 1980s and founding member of pop band Saint Etienne, acknowledges that participants at the time reacted against lazy labelling, but insists they shared an approach:
Of course the "scene", like any scene, barely existed. Like squabbling Marxist factions, groups who had much in common built up petty rivalries. The June Brides and the Jasmine Minks were the biggest names at Alan McGee's Living Room Club and couldn't stand the sight of each other. Only when the Jesus and Mary Chain exploded and stole their two-headed crown did they realise they were basically soulmates.
Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire remembers that it was the bands' very independence that gave the scene coherence: "People were doing everything themselves - making their own records, doing the artwork, gluing the sleeves together, releasing them and sending them out, writing fanzines because the music press lost interest really quickly."
Many of the actual C86 bands distanced themselves from the scene cultivated around them by the UK music press - in its time, C86 became a pejorative term for its associations with so-called "shambling" (a John Peel-coined description celebrating the self-conscious primitive approach of some of the music) and underachievement.
In 2004 the UK-focused Rough Trade Shops compilation Indiepop Vol. 1 effectively documented the history of the sound acknowledging that it pre- and post-dated 1986.[original research?] The movement continued to hold sway into the 1990s. American indie pop band Beat Happening's 1985 eponymous debut album was influential in the development of the indie pop sound, particularly in North America. In the mid-2000s, British clubs such as How Does It Feel to Be Loved?, Scared To Dance and Moogie Wonderland continue to air tracks from C86,[original research?] and Sweden has increased its export of indie pop through Labrador Records.
|Cultural origins||Late 1970s|
Twee pop is a subgenre of indie pop[additional citation needed] that maintained a reasonable amount of success and notoriety distinctive from the overall indie pop current, beginning as early as 1977. The definition of twee is something "excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental," supposedly born from a childish mispronunciation of the word sweet. While the terms "twee" or "twee pop" are considered pejorative in the UK, a retrospective fascination with the genre in the US saw Americans eagerly defining themselves as twee. According to The A.V. Club's Paula Mejia:
The difference between “twee” and “indie pop” is slight but polarizing. Both styles of music transcended genre, became a tape-trading lifestyle, and have similar influences, drawing from the Ramones’ minimalist three-chord structures as much as The Jesus And Mary Chain’s salty pop harmonies. Everyone varies slightly on origins ... Twee itself began as a vast collection of sounds, gathering the threads where luminaries left off, and carving out divergent avenues in their wake.
The author Marc Spitz suggests that the roots of Twee stem from the post-war 1950s music. While the culture categorized itself under the moniker of "indie" (short for independent), many major twee powerhouses gained mainstream critical acclaim for their contributions to the twee movement.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2016)|
|Cultural origins||Mid 1990s|
Cuddlecore is a movement that emerged as a consequence of twee pop that was briefly prominent in the mid-1990s. This label described a style marked by harmony vocals and pop melodies atop a punk-style musical backing. Cuddlecore bands were usually, although not always, all-female and essentially represented a more pop-oriented variation on the contemporaneous riot grrrl scene.